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Gregory Corso

(26 March 1930 – 17 January 2001 / New York City, New York)

Elegiac Feelings American


1
How inseparable you and the America you saw yet was never
there to see; you and America, like the tree and the
ground, are one the same; yet how like a palm tree
in the state of Oregon. . . dead ere it blossomed,
like a snow polar loping the
Miami—
How so that which you were or hoped to be, and the
America not, the America you saw yet could
not see
So like yet unlike the ground from which you stemmed;
you stood upon America like a rootless
Hat-bottomed tree; to the squirrel there was no
divorcement in its hop of ground to its climb of
tree. . . until it saw no acorn fall, then it knew
there was no marriage between the two; how
fruitless, how useless, the sad unnaturalness
of nature; no wonder the dawn ceased being
a joy. . . for what good the earth and sun when
the tree in between is good for nothing. . . the
inseparable trinity, once dissevered, becomes a
cold fruitless meaningless thrice-marked
deathlie in its awful amputation. . . O butcher
the pork-chop is not the pig—The American
alien in America is a bitter truncation; and even
this elegy, dear Jack, shall have a butchered
tree, a tree beaten to a pulp, upon which it'll be
contained—no wonder no good news can be
written on such bad news—
How alien the natural home, aye, aye, how dies the tree when
the ground is foreign, cold, unfree—The winds
know not to blow the seed of the Redwood where
none before stood; no palm is blown to Oregon,
how wise the wind—Wise
too the senders of the prophet. . . knowing the
fertility of the designated spot where suchmeant
prophecy be announced and answerable—the
sower of wheat does not sow in the fields of cane;
for the sender of the voice did also send the ear.
And were little Liechtenstein, and not America, the
designation. . . surely then we'd the tongues of
Liechtenstein—
Was not so much our finding America as it was America finding
its voice in us; many spoke to America as though
America by land-right was theirs by law-right
legislatively acquired by materialistic coups of
wealth and inheritance; like the citizen of society
believes himself the owner of society, and what he
makes of himself he makes of America and thus when
he speaks of America he speaks of himself, and quite
often such a he is duly elected to represent what he
represents. . . an infernal ego of an America
Thus many a patriot speaks lovingly of himself when he speaks
of America, and not to appreciate him is not to
appreciate America, and vice-versa
The tongue of truth is the true tongue of America, and it could
not be found in the Daily Heralds since the voice
therein was a controlled voice, wickedly
opinionated, and directed at gullible
No wonder we found ourselves rootless. . . for we've become the
very roots themselves,—the lie can never take root
and there grow under a truth of sun and therefrom bear the fruit of truth

Alas, Jack, seems I cannot requiem thee without
requieming America, and that's one requiem
I shall not presume, for as long as I live there'll
be no requiems for me
For though the tree dies the tree is born anew, only until
the tree dies forever and never a tree born
anew. . . shall the ground die too
Yours the eyes that saw, the heart that felt, the voice that
sang and cried; and as long as America shall live, though
ye old Kerouac body hath died, yet shall you live. . .
for indeed ours was a time of prophecy without death
as a consequence. . . for indeed after us came the time
of assassins, and whotll doubt thy last words 'After
me. . . the deluge'
Ah, but were it a matter of seasons I'd not doubt the return of the
tree, for what good the ground upon which we stand
itself unable to stand—aye the tree will in seasonal
time fall, for it be nature's wont, thaPs why the
ground, the down, the slow yet sure decomposition,
until the very tree becomes the very ground where
once it stood; yet falls the ground. . . ah, then what?
unanswerable this be unto nature, for there is no
ground whereon to fall and land, no down, no up
even, directionless, and into what, if what,
composition goeth its decomposition?
We came to announce the human spirit in the name of
beauty and truth; and now this spirit cries out in nature's sake
the horrendous imbalance of all things natural. . .
elusive nature caught! like a bird in hand, harnessed
and engineered in the unevolutional ways of
experiment and technique
Yes though the tree has taken root in the ground the ground is
upturned and in this forced vomitage is spewn the
dire miasma of fossilific trees of death the
million-yeared pitch and grease of a dinosauric age
dead and gone how all brought to surface again and
made to roam the sky we breathe in stampedes of
pollution
What hope for the America so embodied in thee, O friend, when
the very same alcohol that disembodied your
brother redman of his America, disembodied
ye—A plot to grab their land, we know—yet what
plot to grab the ungrabbable land of one's spirit? Thy visionary America were
impossible to unvision—for when the shades of the
windows of the spirit are brought down, that which
was seen yet remains. . . the eyes of the spirit yet see
Aye the America so embodied in thee, so definitely rooted
therefrom, is the living embodiment of all
humanity, young and free
And though the great redemptive tree blooms, not yet full, not
yet entirely sure, there be the darksters, sad and
old, would like to have it fall; they hack and chop
and saw away. . . that nothing full and young and
free for sure be left to stand at all
Verily were such trees as youth be. . . were such be made to fall,
and never rise to fall again, then shall the ground
fall, and the deluge come and wash it asunder,
wholly all and forever, like a wind out of nowhere into nowhere


2
'How so like Clark Gable hands your hands. . .' (Mexico
conversation 1956)—Hands so strong and Mexican
sunned, busy about America, hands I knew would
make it, would hold guard and caring
You were always talking about America, and America was always
history to me, General Wolfe lying on the ground
dying in his bright redcoat smittered by a bluecoat
hanging in the classroom wall next to the father of
our country whose heart area was painted in cloud. .
. yes, ours was an American history, a history with a
future, for sure;

How a Whitman we were always wanting, a hoping, an
America, that America ever an America to be,
never an America to sing about or to, but ever an
America to sing hopefully for
All we had was past America, and ourselves, the now America,
and O how we regarded that past! And O the big lie
of that school classroom! The Revolutionary War. . .
all we got was Washington, Revere, Henry,
Hamilton, Jefferson, and Franklin. . . never Nat
Bacon, Sam Adams, Paine. . . and what of liberty?
was not to gain liberty that war, liberty they had,
they were the freest peoples of their time; was not to
lose that liberty was why they went to arms—yet,
and yet, the season that blossomed us upon the
scene was hardly free; be there liberty today? not to
hear the redman, the blackman, the youngman tell—
And in the beginning when liberty was all one could hear; wasn't
much of it for the poor witches of Salem; and that
great lauder of liberty, Franklin, paid 100 dollar
bounty for each scalp of the wild children of natural
free; Pitt Jr. obtained most of the city of brotherly
love by so outrageous a deception as stymied the
trusting heart of his red brother with tortuous
mistrust; and how ignorant of liberty the wise
Jefferson owning the black losers of liberty; for the
declarers of independence to declare it only for part
of the whole was to declare civil war
Justice is all any man of liberty need hope for; and justice was a
most important foundling thing; a diadem for
American life upon which the twinship of private
property and God could be established;
How suffered the poor native American the enforced
establishing of those two pillars of liberty!

From justice stems a variable God, from God stems a
dictated justice
'The ways of the Lord lead to liberty' sayeth St. Paul. . .
- yet a man need liberty, not God, to be able to follow
the ways of God
The justness of individual land right is not justifiable to those
to whom the land by right of first claim
collectively belonged;
He who sells mankind's land to a single man sells the
Brooklyn Bridge
The second greatest cause of human death. . . is the
acquiring of property
No American life is worth an acre of America. . . if No
Trespassing and guarding mastiffs can't tell you
shotguns will
So, sweet seeker, just what America sought you anyway? Know
that today there are millions of Americans
seeking America. . . know that even with all
those eye-expanding chemicals—only more of
what is not there do they see
Some find America in songs of clumping stone, some in
fogs of revolution
All find it in their hearts. . . and O how it tightens the heart
Not so much their being imprisoned in an old and unbearable
America. . . more the America imprisoned in
them—so wracks and darkens the spirit
An America unseen, dreamed, tremors uncertain, bums the
heart, sends bad vibes forth cosmic and otherwise
You could see the contempt in their young-sad eyes. . . and
meantime the jails are becoming barber shops, and
the army has always been
Yet unable they are to shave the hurricane from their eyes
Look unto Moses, no prophet ever reached the dreamed of
lands. . . ah but your eyes are dead. . . nor the
America beyond your last dreamed hill hovers
real

3
How alike our hearts and time and dying, how our America out
there and in our hearts insatiable yet overHowing
hallelujahs of poesy and hope
How we knew to feel each dawn, to ooh and aah each golden
sorrow and helplessness coast to coast in our
search for whatever joy steadfast never there
nowever grey
Yea the America the America unstained and never revolutioned
for liberty ever in us free, the America in
us—unboundaried and unhistoried, we the
America, we the fathers of that America, the
America you Johnnyappleseeded, the America I
heralded, an America not there, an
America soon to be

The prophet affects the state, and the state affects the
prophet—What happened to you, O friend,
happened to America, and we know what
happened to America—the stain. . . the stains,
O and yet when it's asked of you 'What happened to him?' I say
'What happened to America has happened
him—the two were inseparable' Like the wind to the
sky is the voice to the word….
And now that voice is gone, and now the word is bone, and the
America is going, the planet boned
A man can have everything he desires in his home yet have
nothing outside the door—for a feeling man, a poet
man, such an outside serves only to make home a
place in which to hang oneself
And us ones, sweet friend, we've always brought America home
with us—and never like dirty laundry, even with all
the stains
And through the front door, lovingly cushioned in our hearts;
where we sat down and told it our dreams of beauty
hopeful that it would leave our homes beautiful
And what has happened to our dream of beauteous
America, Jack?
Did it look beautiful to you, did it sound so too, in its cold
electric blue, that America that spewed and
stenched your home, your good brain, that unreal
fake America, that caricature of America, that
plugged in a wall America. . . a gallon of desperate
whiskey a day it took ye to look that America in its
disembodied eye
And it saw you not, it never saw you, for what you saw was not
there, what you saw was Laugh-in, and all America
was in laughing, that America brought you in,
brought America in, all that out there brought in, all
that nowhere nothing in, no wonder you were
lonesome, died empty and sad and lonely, you the
real face and voice. . . caught before the fake face
and voice—and it became real and you fake,
O the awful fragility of things

'What happened to him?' 'What happened to you?' Death
happened him; a gypped life happened; a God gone
sick happened; a dream nightmared; a youth
armied; an army massacred; the father wants to eat
the son, the son feeds his stone, but the father no
get stoned
And you, Jack, poor Jack, watched your father die, your America
die, your God die, your body die, die die die; and
today fathers are watching their sons die, and their
sons are watching babies die, why? Why? How we
both asked WHY?
O the sad sad awfulness of it all

You but a mere decade of a Kerouac, but what a lifetime in that
dix Kerouacl
Nothing happened you that did not happen; nothing went
unfulfilled, you circ'd the circle full, and what's
happening to America is no longer happening
to you, for what happens to the consciousness of the land
happens to the voice of that consciousness and the voice has
died yet the land remains to forget what it has heard and the
word leaves no bone
And both word and land of flesh and earth
suffer the same sick the same death. . . and dies the voice before
the flesh, and the wind blows a dead silence over the dying
earth, and the earth will leave its bone, and nothing of wind will
roll the moan, but silence, silence, nor e'en that will
God's ear hear

Aye, what happened to you, dear friend, compassionate friend,
is what is happening to everyone and thing of
planet the clamorous sadly desperate planet now
one voice less. . . expendable as the wind. . . gone,
and who'll now blow away the awful miasma of
sick, sick and dying earthflesh-soul America

When you went on the road looking for America you found only
what you put there and a man seeking gold finds the
only America there is to find; and his investment
and a poet's investment. . . the same when comes
the crash, and it's crashing, yet the windows are
tight, are not for jumping; from
hell none e'er fell

4
In Hell angels sing too
And they sang to behold anew
Those who followed the first Christ-bearer
left hell and beheld a world new
yet with guns and Bibles came they
and soon their new settlement became old
and once again hell held quay
The ArcAngel Raphael was I to you
And I put the Cross of the Lord of Angels
upon you. . . there
on the eve of a new world to explore
And you were flashed upon the old and darkling day
a Beat Christ-boy. . . bearing the gentle roundness of things
insisting the soul was round not square
And soon. . . behind thee
there came a-following
the children of flowers

Submitted: Thursday, April 15, 2010

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